I will probably never forget Olaf B. Lyngstad.
Old Man Lyngstad (as I called him, no, what many other people called him) died several days ago. Today was his funeral, but I didn't go. I was at school at the time. Yet Mom and Dad went, as did several of the neighbors who knew him best. They said it was a beautiful service.
I did go to his wake at the Berryhill Funeral Home (or as a lot of the kids call it, the Bury'Em Funeral Home). He looked like he was sleeping; I expected old Olaf Lyngstad to suddenly sit up and open his eyes and say hello (wouldn't THAT have been a surprise if THAT happened!). Yet he never did. He just lay there in his coffin, dressed to the nines in his favorite tweed suit and black pants. He looked peaceful, yet I knew he was dead. He had that waxy appearance of the dead.
Old Man Lyngstad was 88. He was way up there. His wife should have come, but she is in a nursing home. Alzheimer's or something: her mind's completely gone, so I somehow even doubt she knows that her husband died. Their three kids were there, though, and the two youngest (a daughter and an even younger son) both bawled thorugout the entire service. That's what Mom and Dad said. Several grandkids were there too, but all they did was sit there and stare at their grandfather, hoping that he would "wake up from his sleep".
Old Man Lyngstad had cancer. It went throughout his body and it left him a shell of his former self. His daughter and son stayed with him, caring for him, taking him to his appointments; up until about three months ago, he was doing great, but then the stupid cancer spread and more or less ate him up alive. He didn't look like the same person by the time the cancer got a hold of him and did a number on his body. He suffered badly and was always in pain.
It was very hard on his kids and the grandkids.
Before Mr. Lyngstad took sick, he was something of a legend in our neighborhood. He was the kind of guy who loved to play practical jokes or make people laugh. He never knew a stranger and considered everybody a "potential friend".
If he could, he would have given the shirt off his back to help a neighbor in need; he had a generous heart. Every Christmas he would make home made Norwegian pastries or banana bread that was to die for. He would give money to the poor or needy and attended the local Baptist church every Sunday. He was a very strong Christian man who truly lived like Jesus Christ in whatever he did or said.
I don't know what will happen to Mrs. Lynstad (her first name is Anna), but I hope somehow that she will realize what has happened to her husband. They were married for well over 60 years; goodness knows, Anna Lyngstad deserves to know about her husband's illness (and subsequent passing/funeral). I feel so bad for her because the Alzheimer's robbed her of her mind; she doesn't remember anything after 30 years ago. It's as if half of her life has suddenly disappeared off the planet.
That must be terrible, living with a disease that makes you forget who people are or where you live or what is going on in the world. It's as if you're living in your own little world and time has suddenly stood still permanently.
I hope I never get old; if I do, I pray I die in my sleep and don't suffer like the Lynsgstads did (or in the case of Anna, are). I pray i just fall asleep and don't wake up ever again.
Well, I'm gonna go to bed and cry myself to sleep. I already miss my neighbor; he will never be forgotten. May he rest in peace!